You will find the 2019 winners and finalists displayed here for the Archibald Prize, here for the Sulman Prize, here for the Wynne Prize.have a browse and see what you think.
Jun Chen's Mao's last dancer - Li Cunxin. Not a winner, but my personal favourite. I rarely agree with the judges!
There were 107 finalists across the three prizes. That's a lot of pieces of art to absorb in often crowded gallery spaces full of generally well behaved school kids. They were very well behaved, but there were a lot of them!
I no longer pretend that I am capable of making fine judgements on the quality of the finalists, but in broad terms I thought that the quality and variety of the Archibald finalists was up on previous years, that of the Wynne and Sulman finalists down.
That's just a personal view. Others may well disagree.
As in previous years, I was struck by the continued presence of what we might call message pieces, where the supplied description of the paintings reflected current popular political and cultural angsts such as feminism, gender roles and differences, Aboriginal rights and dispossession and the environment.
I don't have a problem with the idea of art as politics, but I would recommend that you look at the art works as art works before reading the descriptions. I have a bad tendency to quickly scan the work and then read the description before looking in detail at the work. I find that this distorts to some degree because the description affects my independent judgement of the work.
Recognising that space for descriptions is limited, I would also like more information about the artist, especially for the Wynne and Sulman prizes where this was noticeably lacking. I have a particular interest in art and artists connected in some way with the broader New England. This was significantly down this year. I only spotted four such artists. More broadly, and this reflects that fact that I am out of the art scene, I couldn't work out how the artists and styles might fit together.
Perhaps it's just a volume question. There is so much more Australian art now with that it's become a very crowded palate.
If you are in Sydney, do have a look. If outside, browse the links I have above. I plan to go back again and this time spend more time just sitting and looking. .